Homer Powel Cochrane
Homer Powel Cochrane story
This is the story about my search for a pilot to dedicate my airplane to.
I started out thinking of doing a P-40E or K model. I knew the colors would be either AVG or 112 squadron RAF.
Then I met Eric Schilling of the AVG at Sun & Fun in '93. Eric is a very interesting charachter and talked of liking the earlier Tomahawk better than the later Kittyhawks. I then started to think about making an early model P-40C.
After more reading I found that there are none left anywhere and I decided to make a replica of Americas best front line fighter that was available in 1941.
Then I thought of dedicating my plane to a Canadian pilot. That meant it had to be 112 squadron.
Next I bought a book on 112 Squadron (by Robin Brown) that was just released in Jan of 95(two years of thinking? Yes, and I was building too).
I started looking for a Neville Bowker that was listed in the book as a Canadian. It turns out he was a South Rhodesian, and incorrectly documented in the book (I got a really nice letter from his 89 yr. old friend Mr. Fletcher who was the intelligence officer in 112 squadron).
Then I started looking for an HP Cochrane that was listed in a book of Canadians in the RAF as being in 112 Squadron at the right time (summer of '41 is when they used Tomahawks). Mr. Cochrane was also commander of "B" flight and had 9 kills and the DFC.
Next I checked for any Cochrane's in Vernon BC, which is where he was listed as coming from.
On the second call I got hold of one of his cousins! She told me to call his son that was living in St. John, New Brunswick.
I checked with information and there were two numbers. The second one was Scott.
I called him on Halloween and we talked for over an hour.
Turns out he had his dad's log books and everything right there! He was looking through log entries of sorties, ground strafing, escorting Princes and dignitaries, it was incredible!
Click here for pics of Mr. Cochrane from newspaper clippings.
Scott is sending me copies of everything and it will make an impressive display. There is even a little 6 by 9-inch wood plate with Pinocchio painted on it that he had screwed onto his plane! And pictures of his dad with different planes.
It's incredible. And Scott was very touched that I would do something like this.
Here is some food for thought, instead of just making a replica of a piece of machinery, give it some life by attaching a real person to it!